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Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000

Section 17 Hearings before Commission

33.This section provides for the procedure at hearings held by the Commission.  Subject to certain conditions, the procedure at a hearing shall be determined by the Commission. Those conditions are:

  • The Commission may consider alleged contraventions of the councillors’ code by more than one councillor or of the members’ code by more than one member of a devolved public body at the same hearing.

  • A hearing shall be conducted by no fewer than three members of the Commission, selected by the Convener of the Commission. The Convener may be one of the three members.

  • A councillor or member of a devolved public body whose conduct is being considered by a hearing is entitled to be heard in person or to be represented by any other person (including counsel or a solicitor).

  • Members of the Commission conducting a hearing may administer oaths and may require any person to attend the hearing, to give evidence and to produce documents.

  • The Commission cannot compel any person to give any evidence or produce any documents if they could not be compelled to do so in civil proceedings in the Court of Session.

  • Anyone who, without reasonable excuse, fails to obey a requirement to attend a hearing, give evidence or produce documents is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1000).

  • The Commission may pay persons appearing at a hearing or attending it for the purposes of giving evidence or producing documents such expenses or allowances as it thinks fit.

  • Hearings should be held in public, unless the members of the Commission conducting the hearing consider that it is in the public interest that it, or any part of it that they specify, should be held in private.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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